Jordan: MPs Wage Battle Against the Youth

This week's House of Representatives parliament sessions in Amman, Jordan, have been the center of public discontent, especially among the youth community. One topic open for discussion was a proposed constitutional amendment to lower the eligibility age required to run for parliament from 30 to 25 years. True to form, 20 MPs were absent, 49 MPs voted in favor of the proposed amendment, while 49 rejected it, and 2 abstained. A loud and heated debate took place under the dome around this proposal, where some MPs expressed strong disapproval to support the engagement of a younger age group in a country where 70% of the population is under 30 years of age. The amendment did not pass.

Ahmad Zatari summarized some of the offensive comments from the MPs:

علي الخلايلة “شباب الحراك تقودهم أمريكا وفرنسا وتحركهم بإرادتها، كما قال أثناء التصويت على سن 25 عاماً للترشح “ما ظل بالخم إلا ممعوط الذنب
@AhmadZatari: Ali Khalayleh: the active youth are being mobilized by the US and France who manipulate them as they wish.

And he commented on the proposed minimum age of 25:

“None left in the coop but the unfeathered chicks” (Arabic idiom that means none left but the dregs of society)
النائب محمد الذويب بمداخلته خلال التصويت على سن 25 عاماص للترشح بقوله “ما بدنا يجونا سكرانين
MP Mohammad Thweib's intervention while voting on the proposed minimum age of 25 said: “we don't want them to come in drunk”

Hazem Zureikat, a Jordanian transport planner and economist, tweeted the intervention of another MP:

طلال الفاعور: ” هؤلاء حديثو السن وعديمي الخبرة .. وموجهون من فرنسا والغرب ؟؟ هؤلاء صغار لا خبرة عندهم
@hazem: Talal AlFaour: those are young in age and inexperienced…motivated by France and the west…they are young without experience.

And this Jordanian, whose Twitter handle means the facade of corruption, asked:

لماذا يستسهلون اهانة شعب باكمله او جيل كامل و لكن يخافون حتى من انتقاد رجل واحد او امرأة واحدة في صنع القرار
@FacadeAlFasad: Why do they easily insult an entire nation or generation, however fear and refrain from criticizing a single male or female decision maker?

Ahmad Alhuwwari joked:

خبر عاجل: تأسيس جمعية ممعوطين بلا حدود، فمن يرغب بالاشتراك يعمل ريتويت
@huwwary: Breaking: we're establishing an unfeathered chicks without borders society, if interested in joining please retweet :)

And the Palestinian poet and author, Mourid Barghouti, tweeted a question I often wonder about myself when I hear youth bashing:

عدو الممعوطين كيف يعامل أبناءه؟
@MouridBarghouti: This enemy of the unfeathered chicks, how does he treat his own children?

A photograph of a sign held by a young Jordanian from the protest outside the parliament yesterday. The sign reads: If the whole world is against me, I'm an unfeathered chick. I love a challenge. Photo by @eman on Twitter.

Ahmad Zatari tweeted about an organized protest:

إذا شعرت بالإهانة من النواب، انضم/ي إلى اعتصام اليوم أمام المجلس، الساعة 5:30
@AhmadZatari: If you felt offended by the MPs, join the protest September 22 in front of Parliament, 5:30pm.

Activist Eman Jaradat mocked:

هل انت سكران و ممعوط و موجه من امريكا و فرنسا؟ اذا كنت فتاة هل انت مفرعة ايضا؟ و بتنزلي على المظاهرة مع صاحبك؟ اذن انت شاب اردني
@eman: Are you drunk, an unfeathered chick, influenced by the US and France? Are you a bare armed female? Do you go out to protests with your boyfriend? Then you are a Jordanian youth.

Batir Wardam, an environmental communicator, asked:

هل يمكن أن نستنتج من تعليق النائب المحترم حول “ممعوط الذنب” أن مجلس النواب هو خم؟

@batirw: Can we deduct from the respectable MP's comment about the unfeathered chicks that the House of Representatives is a coop?

Aya Almusa spoke out against the offense:

يجب حل الخم الذي أهان جيل بكامله بوصفهم ممعوطين الذنب. هيك نواب ما بمثلوا حدا
@Andareee: We must dissolve the coop that insulted an entire generation calling them unfeathered chicks. These MPs do not represent anyone.

And the pièce de résistance is that the House of Representatives decided to delete the insults from the session's minutes, offering an apology. Deleted from the minutes, perhaps, while videos on the Internet like this JordanDays recording (video Ar) ensure that authentic, untampered, archived documentation lives on.

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